Chicagoans Offer Their Opinions On The Tom Dart Craigslist Lawsuit

Prostitution scandal? In Chicago? We’re on top of it. The RedLightDistrictChicago crew hit the streets to talk to Chicagoans about what they really think about Tom Dart’s lawsuit against Craigslist.

19 Responses

  1. Elliot…so sex work on CraigsList is part of the “crap” on CL?

    XX

  2. Yeah, he was kinda clueless. i guess the young ones always are.

  3. While I was at our state capital speaking to legislatures, I addressed these kinds of statements regarding craigslist and ‘child prostitution’. My response to them is point out that the FBI has yet to disclose what exactly this means. Does it mean that 16 and 17 year olds are being arrested for working as prostitutes? Does it mean that a worker’s kids are being taken into custody because their mom has been arrested for trying to provide for them working as a prostitute?
    Then I ask why the child labor and sexual abuse laws against children are not being enforced? What are the under 18 year olds being made to suffer the life long negative stigma of being arrested for prostitution just like the adults who are arrested for prostitution?
    Then
    I point out that Craigslist had a written agreement agreement with the Illinois state AG to work with law enforcement to disclose everybodyies information to uncover child abuse but that recent developments were facilitated by a county sheriff who is an elected official.
    And of course they immediately get what that’s about and no longer are decrying those ‘poor child prostitutes on craigslist’.

  4. Thanks for posting the video. Are the SWOP Chicago folks pushing for a recall election, or do you you think that’s the best way to handle this? Also, the Attorney General is suing Craigslist for $100,000, saying this is how much he spent on prostitution arrests, and arguing that he was going after child prostitution and human trafficking. Yet, do we know how he really spent this $100,000. Like, how much of it was spent arresting sex workers, compared to how much was spent fighting child prostitution and trafficking? If we don’t know that information, is there anyway to find out?

  5. I have no idea if there’s a way to find that out.

    We honestly don’t have the resources (or people) here in Chicago to push for a recall election. i don’t think it would happen, either. Dart is just doing this because he most likely is going to run for Attorney General in the future and wants to put his name out there.

  6. Yeah. He’d at the very least need to sell a Senate seat to get a recall vote. How far away is this AG run of his?

  7. His lawsuit against Craiglsit isn’t likely to bear much fruit. He may want to consider selling his office or a future one.

  8. I wish CL would defend themselves a bit better. They aren’t to blame for how people use their services. Nor are they to blame for child abuse in the home (which often leads to runaways, who turn to survival prostitution), nor are they to blame for a job that is considered one of humanity’s oldest.

    Gun manufactors don’t have to put up with this shit and their products can be used for a lot worse things than two adults having sex.

    XX

  9. Maxine,

    Great argument! Way to turn the questions around.

    SWA,

    Good questions to ask. Probably won’t ever get a straight answer though. Given the numbers that SWOP-LV has recently come up, $100K seems on the cheap side. If he really is filing a lawsuit, doesn’t he have to PROVE where the figures come from?

    XX

  10. Oh, I thought Dart was the Attorney General. My mistake…I don’t know how we would find out about how much of this $100,000 that Dart claimed to have spent on prostitution arrests went toward arresting sex workers, but it’s really disturbing how it’s so difficult or perhaps impossible for the public to find out how our funds are being spent. The public has the right to know. If Dart is suing CL to improve his chances of being elected as Attorney General, I think he’s going at it all wrong and this could actually work against him. It seems that quite a number of people feel that going after CL and arresting sex workers is a waste of resources.

  11. “I wish CL would defend themselves a bit better. ”

    Me too! But I wonder how much of that is them not really having a lot of money. Well unless since they’ve been charging for ES listings.

  12. All the money from erotic services listings goes to charity

  13. Also, as I found out today, the law firm that is handling the Tom Dart lawsuit has offered to take the case “pro bono”, so no taxpayer money is being spent on the lawsuit itself.

  14. Asking questions instead of having to be giving information is a tactic to hold people accountable. Holding them accountable and getting them to be accountable are two different things. Our job is to hold them accountable by raising the questions, what they do, is one them. There are a number of ways to hold em accountable I learned in labor school.

    And yes, because sheriff rottingham has made certain accusations, he’ll have to provide documentation in court in the discovery stage. That’s where both sides have to hand over to each other, prior to the actual trial, documentations that each side expects to use to back up the arguments in trial. It’s during this discover phase is where settlement talks take place.

    My prediction is that given CL’s past behavior to violate their own right to freedom of expressions, privacy and due process as well as ours, with 39 state AG’s in return for not being held criminally liable, I expect that he will settle out of court and erotic service providers will loose out, again.

    I believe this to be one of the reasons why CL isn’t doing a great job of using their earned media to mount a publicity campaign on their own behalf. They are making the mistake of thinking they don’t have to. They think they are going to be able to win on lack of merits of the case alone.

    But the fact that they’ve already got the AG’s to not prosecute them for something which is why they signed those agreements in the first place with the 39 AG’s…They look guilty. They look like they’ve already acknowledged that they’re liable for something when all they are trying to do now is help the ‘poor child prostitutes’.

    Those of us who’ve been the targets of theses kinds of witch hunts, know that where prostitution is concerned, the prejudice of a hundred years of criminalization impairs everyone’s rational thought. And CL will find out the hard way that people who are so unscrupulous as to file these kinds of cases in the first place will go to any length to manufacture what ever they need to win. And seeing how CL already gave up their own rights, I’m sure they won’t mind when Sheriff rottingham walks all over them. He’s getting away with it in the media and he’ll get away with it in court. Say goodbye to the erotic service section.

    On the issue of holding Sheriff rottingham and the FBI further accountable; you have the right to get ANY information through filing FOIA, Freedom of Information Act. It’s the best tool to answer the questions about how much time and money is being spent on enforcing chld labor and sexual abuse laws verse prostitution.
    http://www.rcfp.org/fogg/index.php

    I attended a workshop at Yale when I was speaking there last month on FOIA. It was taught by one of the non profits who are doing work around illegal detainment/deportations of Latin day laborers.

  15. Is RLDC’s position that prostitution should be “off the streets and in people’s homes where it belongs”?

  16. The only way thats a legitimate position is if its what *all* street workers want.

  17. Very few sex worker activists push for removal of street work. The goal is to change the laws, not the activities of sex workers themselves.

    XX

  18. I didn’t and I don’t think that is a common position for sex workers rights activists. But it is a position that Red Wednesday said in that video up there, in one of the later interviews.

  19. Her statement isn’t a position of the show or all activists, it’s just something she said while doing an interview.

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